BROADWAY FUN FOR FUNDS — Orange Community Players putting on shows Friday, Saturday
Published 12:02 am Thursday, July 6, 2023
The Orange Community Players are gearing up for Broadway Fun for Funds at the Orange Train Depot Museum Friday and Saturday.
“This year’s fundraiser will feature a cast of 11 talented local singers bringing to life songs for many Broadway favorites, both old and new,” said Codie Vasquez, Vice President, Orange Community Players
Attendees can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine before the show and desserts and punch at intermission.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Showtime is at 7:37 p.m. Tickets are $45 for individuals and $75 for couples.
To purchase tickets for Broadway Fun for Funds visit ocplayers.org or visit Lookin Good Salon on N. 16th Street. If you would like to volunteer to assist renovations, or make a donation, visit the website.
Money raised at the event will go towards ongoing renovations at the old movie theater on Bowling Lane. Orange Community Players have been working to raise $1.5 million to renovate the 50-year-old location into a venue dubbed “Jeff Hattman Center for Performing Arts.”
“When we discovered that the Brown Cinema Building was for sale, we took the opportunity to purchase the building and renovate it from a movie theater to a performing arts theater,” Vasquez says.
Major renovations began on the 50-year-old building in August of 2021 and officials say they are nearing completion of Phase One.
“We hope to have a fully functioning Blackbox theater by February 2024,” Vasquez says. “This will allow us to begin having full theater performances that will bring in revenue to complete the work on the main stage theater at Phase two.”
The outcome will be two fully functioning theatrical performance venues in one building and a new home for a group that started in 1950 at Towne Theater, performing in local high schools. They procured the building on Division for $10 from Edgar Brown and opened there with “Bus Stop” in 1959.
“Due to repeated flooding of the building located on Division Street, OCP could no longer cover the rising insurance costs,” Vasquez says.
Since leaving the building on Division Street, OCP has performed at Free State Winery and The Orange Train Depot but are ready for a new place to call home.
“Having the space to allow people to come together and create and perform again is much anticipated by many. I know that I truly miss having that space,” Vasquez says.
Vasquez says the new space will allow them room to bring back their summer theater workshops, something they have been doing since 1985.
“Orange County children have enjoyed learning about and experiencing live theater since the workshop began and we hope to resume the workshop in 2024,” Vasquez says.
A workshop that is close to Vasquez’s heart.
“I began volunteering with OCP about 20 years ago, when my son, who was about 10 at the time, signed up for the summer theater workshop. I fell in love with watching and participating with a group of people from all different backgrounds and with different talents coming together to bring living art to the stage,” she said.
“It’s amazing what a group of determined people can do with a small budget and sheer will. We have pulled off some huge feats and major productions that entertained and inspired audiences for years with the creative ingenuity of local volunteers.”
The renovations also bring a sense of excitement for local actors.
“Growing up, OCP was always a place of joy and happiness for me. It’s where I made some great friends and connected with my family in such a fun way,” says Kayla Nichols. “The renovation to me is like the bring back of old times in a new time. It means new beginnings and old friends, contributing traditions and making new ones.”
According to the American Association of Community Theatre, community theater enriches the lives of those who take an active part in it, as well as those in the community who benefit from live productions.
On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, life experience and a strong appreciation of the importance of the arts.
“Community theater provides locals with a platform in which they can express themselves without judgment — something we need more of in today’s world,” Vasquez said. “Like self-knowledge, these performances can remind us how we can work together to better our society.”
Vasquez said community theater has never been more important for youth, adding they need a place where they can explore the creative aspects of their minds, where they can express their emotions without fear of rejection.
“The community theater can bring together local youth and others alike for a common goal: to put on a great production,” she said. “It can teach everyone about working with one another and bettering themselves as individuals and as a whole.”
— Written by Chrissie Mouton